Runaway Ligue 1 leaders Paris Saint-Germain travel to Nantes keen to extend their lead at the top and make another important step towards clinching the domestic title.
Nantes set sights on Europe
Having missed a chance to get into the European places last season when they finished seventh in standings with a huge eight-point deficit behind Bordeaux, Nantes have reaffirmed their European ambitions this term.
Premier League winner Claudio Ranieri has been given the vote of confidence by the club board last summer when he began shaping the squad to his own liking. Rigorous in his 4-4-2 formation and tactical approach, the Italian made Nantes into a tough nut to crack during the 2017/18 season. With 19 Ligue 1 matches under their belts already, Les Canaris are sitting in fifth place in the standings, trailing the fourth-placed Marseille by five points. Apart from their Sunday rivals, Nantes have conceded least goals this season (18) which is the number of goals scored as well, making them one of the least efficient sides in French top flight. Argentine forward Emiliano Sala has thus far been the one to watch at Nantes. The 27-year-old scored seven goals in 18 appearances and is sure to be the biggest threat to Paris Saint-Germain this weekend.
Strikers Kalifa Coulibaly and Prejuce Nakoulma are unavailable through injuries, whereas midfielder Kayembe is suffering from a cruciate ligament rupture. Kolbeinn Sightorsson is not expected to return to full fitness until February due to his meniscus tear.
PSG Running Riot
Paris Saint-Germain have thus far played the total of 29 matches across all competitions this season. The French giants only lost two and drew as many, while registering 25 victories which is a number that comes as a huge testament to their strength and quality this term.
Despite the formidable exploits which saw PSG open an 11-point lead at the summit of Ligue 1 and go through the Champions League group stage in style, Unai Emery has been met with criticism at PSG helm. Former Sevilla boss did suffer successive defeats at the hands of Strasbourg and Bayern Munich in December, but he is doing his best to balance the star-studded squad. If six consecutive wins are anything to go by, it seems he’s finally found the perfect formula. World-record signing Neymar is leading the line for PSG together with Kylian Mbappe and Edinson Cavani, and these three will once again be under the spotlight for the Sunday’s clash.
Unai Emery will have no selection worries ahead of the trip to Nantes. PSG boss fielded a combined squad for this week’s Coupe de la Ligue quarterfinal match against Amiens but we should see him field the strongest line-up for the weekend test.
PSG have been in fine scoring form over the past couple of weeks but Ranieri’s Nantes have proven to be a defensively tight unit and we should not expect to see a high-scoring affair this time around. PSG’s impressive attacking potential is not easy to contain but the Canaries are determined they will prove to be a tough test for the champions-elect.
Top pick: Draw/PSG 4.40 (17/5) @BetVictor
Alternative pick 1: Both teams to score – No 1.80 (4/5) @Betfair
Alternative pick 2: Under 2.5 goals 2.38 (11/8) @WilliamHill